Joint dynamic pricing of multiple perishable products under consumer choice

Yalçin Akçay, Harihara Prasad Natarajan, Susan H. Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


In response to competitive pressures, firms are increasingly adopting revenue management opportunities afforded by advances in information and communication technologies. Motivated by these revenue management initiatives in industry, we consider a dynamic pricing problem facing a firm that sells given initial inventories of multiple substitutable and perishable products over a finite selling horizon. Because the products are substitutable, individual product demands are linked through consumer choice processes. Hence, the seller must formulate a joint dynamic pricing strategy while explicitly incorporating consumer behavior. For an integrative model of consumer choice based on linear random consumer utilities, we model this multiproduct dynamic pricing problem as a stochastic dynamic program and analyze its optimal prices. The consumer choice model allows us to capture the linkage between product differentiation and consumer choice, and readily specializes to the cases of vertically and horizontally differentiated assortments. When products are vertically differentiated, our results show monotonicity properties (with respect to quality, inventory, and time) of the optimal prices and reveal that the optimal price of a product depends on higher quality product inventories only through their aggregate inventory rather than individual availabilities. Furthermore, we show that the price of a product can be decomposed into the price of its adjacent lower quality product and a markup over this price, with the markup depending solely on the aggregate inventory. We exploit these properties to develop a polynomial-time, exact algorithm for determining the optimal prices and the profit. For a horizontally differentiated assortment, we show that the profit function is unimodal in prices. We also show that individual, rather than aggregate, product inventory availability drives pricing. However, we find that monotonicity properties observed in vertically differentiated assortments do not hold.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1345-1361
Number of pages17
JournalManagement science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Consumer choice
  • Dynamic pricing
  • Efficient algorithm
  • Perishable products
  • Revenue management
  • Vertical and horizontal product assortments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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